Hosts Bangladesh will look to confirm their semi-final berth in their second match against a Malaysian XI as Bangabandhu Cup returns to Dhaka today after two days of break.
Sri Lanka take on Nepal in the other match of the day at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
All eyes will be on the hosts, who began the competition with 4-2 win over SAFF semi-finalists Sri Lanka and are within a touching distance of reaching the last four.
A win against the Malaysian XI, mainly composed of players from Felda United, will mean Bangladesh will be the first side to reach the last-four of the competition.
Bangladesh lost to Malaysia Under-23 team in the final of the last edition, but this time the visitors offer a different challenge having sent a new group of players.
Though Malaysia sent mainly a club side under the guise of Malaysia XI, Bangladesh coach Maruful Haque said he has enough respect for them.
‘I watched their first match and they [Felda United] are a very strong side,’ Maruf told reporters during the pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
‘They try long-range shots which may cause us problems.’
Maruf, however, believes his charges are capable of beating the Malaysians and reach the last-four of the tournament.
‘Before the tournament our target was to win the first game and our next target is to confirm the semi-final berth. And I want to do it by winning tomorrow’s [Wednesday’s] game,’ said the 46-year old coach.
‘The players are fully focused on their job and there are no injuries as well but we are going miss the service of Shohel Rana, who has left the team to be with his ailing father.
Despite a big victory over Sri Lanka in the opening match, Maruf is concerned with the team’s defence as they conceded two goals after taking the lead twice.
‘I always work mostly on defence, both for the club and country. It is not possible to solve this issue overnight but I’m trying to rectify their [players] weaknesses gradually,’ said Maruf.
On the other hand, Malaysian XI coach Irfan Bakti Abu Salim, has chalked up some special plans to blunt the threats of Bangladesh captain Mamunul Islam, right-winger Zahid Hossain and forward Nabib Newaz Jibon.
‘First and foremost, we must have to contain the attack of Bangladesh,’ said Salim.
‘Especially their number 18 [Nabib Newaz Jibon], their right- winger [Zahid Hossain] and captain [Mamunul Islam], who provides most of the balls. They are very good players. We must have to stop them.’
-With New Age input